I am utterly exhausted but will try to share my feedback.
My purpose in attending the 39th annual national American Adoption Conference was to share my presentation on equal access which is now available by clicking:
It was sparsely attended to my disappointment, but there were many session at each time slot. I will say that I got rave reviews for professionalism and interesting information by those who did attend.
My other major objective was to meet with our Canadian counterparts: Monica Bryne and Karen Lynn, president of Canadian Council for Natural Mothers. I was very impressed and encouraged. We seem to be totally like-minded on issues and I hope to continue this invaluable networking.
Financial and health restraints limited my time at this very long conference to late Friday arrival until it ended on Sunday. It was large and spread out which made it quite exhausting for me, though I feel guilty complaining - seeing B J Lifton there! Still a trooper after ALL THESE MANY years!
However, as a result I did not attend many sessions. I did hear Marley Greiner's indepth coverage of safe havens. The work she, and Erick Smith, are doing in following up case-by-case is mind boggling.
Also mind-blowing is the attitude of those who support legalized abandonment and cheer every time a baby is left - seeing it as one more baby "saved" from infanticide (as adoption allegedly "saves" unwanted babies, as well). Proponents get so caught up in this cheering squad mentality that they actually are pushing it on mothers in hospitals! With all the money being spent on advertising etc - which of course is money not being spent helping families in crisis remain safely intact - the numbers are miniscule. In counties in Ohio which Marley monitors closely they are zero to single digit. I must get back to Marley on the percentage of those she said were returned to their original parents!
(Left to right in photo: Me, Karen Lynn, Mary Anne Cohen. Photo credit, Marley Greiner, Bastaredette)
I briefly saw Kathy A, Jean Gartland, Barbara Raymond, Pam Hasagawa, Margie Pershceid, Bobbie Beavers, Robert McDonald, Suz Bednarz, BJ (as I said), Elizabeth Samuels and many, many other new and old faces.
An overall impression is the ongoing lack of cohesiveness in the movement....the failure of the AAC to have ever achieved its goal of being an umbrella organization for those separated by adoption. I find it quite frankly insulting and totally counter-productive that while purporting to be bringing light to the harm of adoptions separation, lies and secrecy, to simultaneously include ways to continue to support an industry which exploits and coerces for profit. But of course, like Donaldson and many other orgs - and individuals - they believe that adoption would be just fine as long as it is "ethical" (with no real definition or goal to work on regulation establishment) and as long as adoptees get their OBC!
To my jaded, radical thinking that is like condoning cigarette smoking at a cancer research conference because its a 'choice' and a profitable one...so just let them smoke and we can then also support the mega bucks pharmaceutical and treatment industry! I mean if we actually stopped any of these hazards, so many would be out of work. Harm and kill for profit - yah!
Those of us working to be more than an ambulance at the bottom of the hill are labeled as "anti-adoption" as if we are wrong not be joining the celebrating of the failure of families to receive the support to remain together. As if adoption were focused on finding homes for the kids in this country or elsewhere who really need homes and not simply filling a demand a filling the pockets of profiteers of misery and family destruction....as if adoption were at all child-centered or put the interests of children before those of the paying clients. But I digress.
As a result of the lack of focus, new people get involved and decide to take it upon themselves to make a go at opening the records in their state - or simply wanting to go after medical records, as I heard one young woman proclaim to my chagrin - seemingly recreating the wheel with what appears to be little knowledge of the history of what's been done, tried failed, should be tried, and which directions are preferable and not.
I ended my stay with a side trip tot he Rock and Roll Hall of Fame which was great fun but added to my physical exhaustion and pain.
Watch for a follow-up post on a plenary session by Senator Paula Benoit of Maine, entitled "Turning the Legislative Wheels" and reaction to my comments.